IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

On the Impact of Forward Contract Obligations in Multi-Unit Auctions

  • de Frutos, Maria-Angeles
  • Fabra, Natalia

Several regulatory authorities worldwide have recently imposed forward contract obligations on electricity producers as a way to mitigate their market power. In this paper we investigate how such contractual obligations affect equilibrium bidding in electricity markets, or in any other auction-based market. For this purpose, we introduce forward contracts in a uniform-price multi-unit auction model with complete information. We find that forward contracts are pro-competitive when allocated to relatively large and efficient firms; however, they might be anti-competitive otherwise. We also show that an increase in contract volume need not always be welfare improving. From a methodological point of view, we aim at contributing to the literature on multi-unit auctions with discrete bids.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6756.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6756
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.

Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Claude Crampes and Natalia Fabra, 2005. "The Spanish Electricity Industry: Plus ca change," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 127-154.
  2. Kühn, Kai-Uwe & Machado, Matilde Pinto, 2004. "Bilateral Market Power and Vertical Integration in the Spanish Electricity Spot Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 4590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Fabra, Natalia & Toro, Juan, 2005. "Price wars and collusion in the Spanish electricity market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 155-181, April.
  4. von der Fehr, Nils-Henrik Morch & Harbord, David, 1993. "Spot Market Competition in the UK Electricity Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(418), pages 531-46, May.
  5. Kremer, Ilan & Nyborg, Kjell G, 2004. "Underpricing and Market Power in Uniform Price Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4363, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Frank Wolak, 2000. "An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Hedge Contracts on Bidding Behavior in a Competitive Electricity Market," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 1-39.
  7. Christian Schultz, 2005. "Virtual Capacity and Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1487, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Mansur, Erin T, 2007. "Upstream Competition and Vertical Integration in Electricity Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 125-56, February.
  9. Allaz Blaise & Vila Jean-Luc, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, February.
  10. Von Der Fehr, N.H.M. & Harbord, D., 1992. "Long-Tern Contracts and Imperfectly Competitive Spot Markets : A Study of U.K. Electricity Industry," Memorandum 14/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  11. Matthew O. Jackson & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 2005. "Existence of Equilibrium in Single and Double Private Value Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 93-139, 01.
  12. Matti Liski & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2005. "Forward trading and collusion in oligopoly," Working Papers 0506, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  13. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Electricity Markets," Staff General Research Papers Archive 31547, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Mahenc, P. & Salanie, F., 2004. "Softening competition through forward trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 282-293, June.
  15. Green, Richard & Le Coq, Chloé, 2010. "The length of contracts and collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 21-29, January.
  16. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-64.
  17. Newbery, D. M., 1997. "Competition, Contracts and Entry in the Electricity Spot Market," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9707, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  18. James B. Bushnell & Erin T. Mansur & Celeste Saravia, 2007. "Vertical Arrangements, Market Structure, and Competition An Analysis of Restructured U.S. Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 13507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bushnell, James, 2007. "Oligopoly Equilibria in Electricity Contract Markets," Staff General Research Papers Archive 13135, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  20. Robert Wilson, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-689.
  21. Crawford, Gregory S. & Crespo, Joseph & Tauchen, Helen, 2007. "Bidding asymmetries in multi-unit auctions: Implications of bid function equilibria in the British spot market for electricity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1233-1268, December.
  22. Green, Richard J & Newbery, David M, 1992. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 929-53, October.
  23. Ferreira, José Luis, 2000. "Strategic interaction between futures and spot markets," UC3M Working papers. Economics 7273, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  24. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
  25. Ali Hortaçsu & Steven L. Puller, 2008. "Understanding strategic bidding in multi-unit auctions: a case study of the Texas electricity spot market," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 86-114.
  26. Garcia-Diaz, Anton & Marin, Pedro L., 2003. "Strategic bidding in electricity pools with short-lived bids: an application to the Spanish market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 201-222, February.
  27. Paul Klemperer, 2003. "Alfred Marshall Lecture: Using and Abusing Economic Theory," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 272-300, 04/05.
  28. Colin Loxley & David Salant, 2004. "Default Service Auctions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 201-229, 09.
  29. Green, Richard, 1999. "The Electricity Contract Market in England and Wales," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 107-24, March.
  30. Philip J. Reny, 1999. "On the Existence of Pure and Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibria in Discontinuous Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1029-1056, September.
  31. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
  32. Frank A. Wolak, 2007. "Quantifying the supply-side benefits from forward contracting in wholesale electricity markets," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 1179-1209.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6756. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.